Another week, another poetry assignment

Mother and daughter in Saigon, 2014.

This week, we were set three poetry tasks. I don’t know what it is about these tasks but they make me so angry to look at, and I feel really resistant to doing them. I think about complaining, dropping out of the class, then I just do it and find myself really enjoying it.

Here was the outline of the first task:

Spend 20-30 minutes writing with the following suggestions in mind:  
• Have hovering over the writing piece the sense that force is more primary than clarity
• Include some form of repetition such as anaphora or polyptoton*
• Include an exclamation
• Include a self-deprecating moment 
• Write a Love poem 
* Anaphora – repetition of a word at the beginning of a sentence / stanza; Polyptoton – repetition of a word in different forms e.g ‘tight’ might include tightly, tighten, tightrope.
So I tried the task, mainly resistant due to the first bullet point, which I was skeptical about (pretentious bullshit alert?). I ended up using the word ‘light’ in order to incorporate anaphora and polyptoton, and I used a piece of free writing from last week’s seminar as material. The free writing itself was about a dream I’d had the night before. In the dream I had a daughter, and I woke up missing her but feeling loved by this imaginary child. Then, a nasty interaction with a stranger that day, though unrelated, killed the feeling of being important/responsible/loved. Hard to explain, just a feeling coming and going, which I suppose is apt material for writing with ‘force’, not ‘clarity’. This isn’t a finished poem, but the product of 20-30 minutes of writing (as the task dictated).
Emily x
P.S. My tutor gave me some homework back (a poem) and asked why I’d aligned it to the centre of the page. So I’m left justifying this one.


Light hair, light eyes,
when I wake, she’s still there –
Child of light.
Three feet tall, slight.
Warmed for the remainder of the day
by her eyes full of delight,
delight we share.
Hers and mine.

Light with the night memory,
Night flutter,
but my stomach feeling flatter,
feeling empty. Feeling lighter,
having never really held her –
Lightning bug.

Light all day thinking of her,
her slight arms, her light hair,
I walk lighter, light as air,
with my womb-bound
luminary. Firefly,
waiting somewhere.

Light still later, in the car park,
glide down the cold, cemented stair.
No normal urine stench, only
delight in the fresh air –

Alight on someone. But not her.
Watch your fucking step, Moron!
Cold contempt. Darker stare.

Light hair, but not hers.
Not here yet, not anywhere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s